What a Knob

There are a number of basic truths that I’ve learned while working on my house. Here’s one.

I’ve learned that to be most successful, it’s best that one has experience in doing this type of work.

I don’t.

Next-best is having a level of intelligence to figure things out and think ahead.

I’ve learned time and time again that I’m often a moron about this stuff.

Next-next-best is to have high standards for the work.

Oh, this I have. And it’s a blessing and a curse. Quite often my standards surpass my ability to meet them, and I end up frustrated or re-working things ad nauseum and still not reaching the level of quality I want.

Next3-best is to be stubborn.

OK, now we’re getting somewhere. I have this in spades.

Let’s look at tonight. What’s on the agenda? Touch up the paint in the third bedroom and finish painting the door and install it. I’m touching up the paint, and I’m noticing that there a funny smudges of paint appearing on the floor. Huh? I cleaned those up last night. ? They’re so flat that almost look like– Oh. I stepped on paint on the drop cloth and I’m walking around the room. Take off shoes. Scrape up paint.

Now to the door. I’ve already gone through the whole thing of stripping the old paint, during which I gouged the door in a few places. To fix the gouges? Wood filler. Great! It’s dry, I sanded, here we go. I paint the door white… and it bleeds through. Second layer–bleeds through. Third layer–bleeds through (remember the deal about being stubborn?). Finally I checked with Josh, “Did you prime it?” Uh, no; I didn’t know I needed to. So last night I primed both sides. *sigh* ok.

Tonight. I paint the last coat with the color I want. Great. It’s covered. It’s done. Great. I install the new strike plate I bought. Doesn’t match the other hardware, but whatever–it looks good. At least it’s not painted over like it was (all the hardware: strike plates, hinges, etc. were all painted over! They looked like crap!). I’m replacing it all.

Next step: install the new door knob. OK, think now, Jay. Do this right so you don’t have to redo it. I have pretty good spatial skills, so this shouldn’t be a big deal. I imagine the door. I imagine standing at the door in the room. OK, this is right. I get out the door knob. Oh look, it comes with its own strike plate! *sigh* OK, well the other ones I bought can go to the Re-Store…

I’ve never installed a door knob before, although getting the old one off was a b****. It was the old kind with the cover plate, and I ended up using a straight-headed screwdriver, which took forever.

I read the instructions. Easy enough. Put in the thing, add the knobs (think, Jay: lock goes on the inside. Check!). Then put in the screws. What the– How do you easily screw in screws on a doorknob?! Answer: there is no easy way. I even tried Google searches. Nothing. I even bought one of those angled screwdriver things, and it was a pain. I was simultaneously stripping the screw head and scratching the knob with it.

I seem to notice repeatedly that it’s never the big things that slow me down. It’s always the little, piddliest s***** things that hang me up.

I finally ended up–you guess it–using a straight screwdriver and coming in at an angle. Whew. ok. Done. The screw is a bit stripped, but I’ll never have to take it off, so who cares (you’re smart enough to see where this is headed; smarter than me, obviously).

Next, the hinges. I bought these nice hinges that match the knobs. They have square corners instead of rounded ones, so I screw them in, then use a utility knife to mark the parts I have to carve out. I thought that was pretty smart, actually. I like doing these kinds of things empirically. It worked well. I need to fix some of the paint, but so be it. I installed both hinges on the door. Great.

Next, let’s install the door. I take it in to the room and– Wait. Why is the knob so high? Oh, cuz I’m a jackass is why–when I was visualizing the door I had it upside-down. That means I (!#$%*$#$%) installed the door knob with the lock out! (^%^#$%~#$!#$!) OK, deal with that in a second. First get empirical again: put the door on the jamb, and take a scraper and hammer it at the edges to mark where I need to trim.

Next is the knob, but I need another success first. A little one will do. I take off the shiny brass strike plate and put on the matching one. yeah. a success. far out.

Now take off the door knob (forever), switch it around and install it again (forever and a day). OK, time I’ll never get back in this lifetime, but the knob is right now.

Then take off the door and trim the wood. Put the door back on. Hm. The paint isn’t perfect. Maybe a light sanding, but NOT TONIGHT.

Apart from that, just the shelf and rod in the closet and closet doors. although the opening is 3-1/8″ larger than the standard door size. I’ll get frustrated with that tomorrow…

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